Manage Application Rationalization and Transformation Strategy


The average global company can save between 20% and 30% of its IT budget by retiring redundant applications. For enterprise architects looking for quick wins, application portfolio management (APM) is an excellent place to focus.

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Managing the application life-cycle isn’t just about cost savings.

A successful transformation process will focus on how improving or developing new applications and processes, and freshening up infrastructure, can increase customer and stakeholder satisfaction.

Like so many tasks in life, if you and your colleagues understand and agree with the purpose and mission of the task, it is much more enjoyable than just managing the details. Start by identifying:

  • Who needs to be involved? 
  • How you’ll keep them informed?  
  • Goals and success metrics.

Who Are Your Stakeholders?

Identify who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed for application portfolios.

This can guide the permissions you set up in your SaaS dashboards or other reports. Common stakeholder groups include:

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IT & Asset Managers
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Project Managers
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Solution Architects
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Dept. Heads/ Leads

Centralize Data in an Application Inventory

Good out-of-the box data integrations and an open API can do a lot of the heavy-lifting of data centralization. Top tips for managing data include: 

  • Roundtripping data with Excel or Google Sheets can be a great way to get started 
  • Mapping to services such as Technopedia and ServiceNow can be a great way to keep details on vendors, versioning, and life-cycles. These can be set up so they’re either self-service or automated-delivery, depending on your preference. 
  • Mapping to SharePoint lists will allow you to harvest content and keep it up to date.  
  • Shadow IT is increasing, so assume that applications which aren’t on official registers exist. Walk the floors to understand who is using what, and where.

“Enterprises have up to 1000 cloud apps,
but CIOs think it
s just 30-40

– Symantec 

Collaboration Hub Keeps Stakeholders Informed

A current and connected data set is key to successful application management. Data-owners need to access their application lists and reports on the status of application transformation projects.  They need to be able to edit the data easily day-to-day, updating the central repository. 

Application portfolio lists, visualizations and reports should be easy to find. Ideally, they are online software embedded as part of the everyday workplace applications (MS Teams, or on company intranets) 

Accurate Metrics for Reporting on your Application Portfolio

Set up diagnostics to track the health of the application portfolio against your chosen success metrics (cost, reliability, risks). Pre-built algorithms in ABACUS are available to assist with these performance assessments. You can also set up predictive analytics to forecast metrics into the future.

To save time and effort, we recommend setting up analytics so they can be re-calculated automatically, updating throughout the portfolio. Algorithms can be used to calculate standard scores and indicators including:

ABACUS Visual Algorithm Composer Graphic Representation Demonstrating the ease of drag-and-drop algorithms
  • Cost & TCO
  • Business Fit & Technical Fit, including:
  • Reliability (Probability of a component failing)
  • Complexity (number of connections to technical elements such as servers, platform services, infrastructure services, databases)
  • Availability (proportion of time for which it is available, factoring in recovery time)

Cost calculations are particularly important, and should be set up to include both fixed and variable CapEx and OpEx costs and also indirect costs such as Server costs. By building up a cost profile of each application, you will then be able to assess the entire portfolio.

Best Application Portfolio Visualizations & Roadmaps  

Schedule time regularly with Heads of Departments and the CIO to make sure they’re familiar with the nuts and bolts of the application portfolio.  

Start your presentations with simple charts showing how application transformation is both saving the business money, and improving metrics such as customer satisfaction. By setting up interactive charts and dashboards, you’ll also be able to drill-down into the repository to answer more detailed questions as you go. 

Application Transformation Checklist

Download our Application Rationalization Checklist & Reporting Templates

Download here

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